• Carl Battreall

Being a Juror

One of my favorite perks from having been involved in the photography community for over thirty years is that I occasionally get ask to be a juror for an exhibit, competition or film festival. I really enjoy looking at all styles of photography and consider myself a good Juror. What makes a good juror you ask?

A good juror is unbiased when it comes to the genre or style of photography submitted. I can appreciate creative photography, no matter if it is portraiture, street or landscapes; color, black and white or an alternative process. Unfortunately, many jurors have a very narrow view of what "good" photography is. More often than not, these jurors select images that appeal to themselves and match a certain style, most often their own. They will reject a style or genre they don't like or think is illegitimate. They believe their influence is the most important part of being a juror.

You can usually tell if a juror is focused on themselves if the majority of images selected look similar in style or subject matter to their own work. Unfortunately, new artists, wishing to enter a competition or juried exhibit, are often advised to study the work of the juror. That is great advice if the juror is one of those photographers that believes their work and opinion is superior to all others. But it is really terrible advice. Not only should you not be helping to boost the egos of those jurors, but the whole goal of creating any form of art is to be honest with yourself and your vision. To create work in order to appease a juror is the wrong way to approach creativity. No award or exhibit is worth it.

I will admit I do tend to have a high standard when it comes to the craft of photography. I can usually tell if a photographer is "lazy" with their craft. No matter what the style or technique, a photographer should strive for the highest image quality possible. I only wish prints were submitted to competitions instead of everything being online and digital. A print will always reveal the flaws in a photographer's craftmanship.

I am currently one of the jurors for the 2022 Monovisions International Photography Awards.